Some Residents See Yellow-Tagged Homes And A Muddy Mess In Storm’s Wake


ENCINO (CBSLA) – As the rainstorm moves its way out of the Southland Thursday night, some residents are left cleaning up the aftermath, including a homeowner in Tarzana whose backyard was overcome by a mudflow.

Tarzana homeowner Mark Schiffman’s backyard after the hillside gave way in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2021. (CBSLA)

The steady stream of mud filled their pool and blanketed the ground with several inches of mud.

“Four o’clock in the morning, the hill came down and it woke us up,” said homeowner Mark Schiffman, who has lived on Gleneagles Drive for 17 years and has never dealt with anything like this before at his home.

Schiffman called the fire department because he was unable to keep up with the mudflow.

“We just have to put sandbags and get rid of the mud we have here now, and set up for more rain,” he said.

Firefighters drained the pool so it could act as a catch basin for more rain and mud, and prevent the flow from seeping into Schiffman’s home.

“The problem is the hillsides can still go, even if it’s not raining,” said Captain Tom Henzgen with the Los Angeles Fire Department. “And with the sustained rain we have had the past couple of days. The dirt gets saturated without the vegetation to hold it back, it lets go.”

Down the hill, the golf course at Breamar Country Club was saturated with water and mud. In Panorama City, a downed tree temporarily blocked a portion of Roscoe

Dec. 30, 2021 (CBSLA)

Boulevard. Crews, however, were out quickly to remove the tree, as traffic was down to one lane.

On Coldwater Canyon in Studio City, a car got stuck in a mudflow coming down the road. The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety also yellow-tagged five nearby homes, on Clawson Place, as another slope failure could block road access for LAFD.

As for Shiffman’s home in Tarzana, it was also yellow-tagged, meaning the home may not be safe to live in right now, though the homeowner said he’s taking it all in stride right now.

“When you live up in the mountains and you have the hills behind you, things happen. It’s one of the things we live with, I guess,” Schiffman said.

Firefighters said one way to prevent slope failures is to have plenty of vegetation on the hillside to hold down the mud and dirt, as well as a good retaining wall, which can protect the home.

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